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Community Organizing. From the Bottom Up Community Organizing - Overview Rogers. From the Bottom Up. Two types of community-based efforts Community organizing Community-based economic development Both need From inside – leaders, empowering organizations

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community organizing
Community Organizing
  • From the Bottom Up
  • Community Organizing - Overview
  • Rogers
from the bottom up
From the Bottom Up
  • Two types of community-based efforts
    • Community organizing
    • Community-based economic development
  • Both need
    • From inside – leaders, empowering organizations
    • From outside – money, technical expertise
contemporary community organizing in the united states national networks
Contemporary Community Organizing in the United States – National Networks
  • Block-club model
    • NPA
    • ACORN
  • Institutional model (“broad-based,” “faith-based”, or “congregation-based” [CBCO])
    • Overview – from Kleidman, Robert. 2004. "Community Organizing and Regionalism." City and Community 3:403-421
    • National Networks
      • IAF
      • Gamaliel Foundation
      • DART
      • PICO
  • Introduction
  • Prologue
  • 1. Moses and Paul: The World’s Greatest Organizers
  • 2. We Are Willing to Sacrifice
  • 6. Anger Gives You Energy
  • 7. The First Revolution is Internal
introduction by bill moyers
Introduction, by Bill Moyers
  • Ernie Cortes as embodiment of community organizing (CO)
    • Advantages and disadvantages of high-profile organizers
  • Organizing and empowerment
  • “Faith-based” organizing
  • Cortes [and organizing as both] “conservative” and “radical”
  • Story about a “new kind of intervention in politics by working poor people who incorporate their religious values into a struggle for power and visibility”
  • Note: while this captures key aspects of CO, it is not:
    • New
    • Just poor people
      • Think about “metro-equity” organizing and the metropolitan majority, for example
III. Empowerment of people at neighborhood and parish levels
  • Larger-scale is a challenge but a necessity
Rogers’ story
    • Grew cynical about mainstream politics
    • Was reluctant to talk about values and faith in public context
      • Concerned that mix of politics and religion produces a “poisonous stew” (7)
    • Discovered IAF had a way of combining religion and politics that she viewed as democratic
      • see Hart, Stephen. 2001. Cultural Dilemmas of Progressive Politics: Styles of Engagement Among Grassroots Activists. University of Chicago Press

IV. Role of “cold” anger in organizing

    • one goal of organizing is to help people situate this anger in a larger analysis of social structures and forces, and to see alternatives in collective terms
1 moses and paul the world s greatest organizers
1. Moses and Paul: The World’s Greatest Organizers
  • Cortes and the story of Moses
    • Use of bible stories for progressive messages is not new – e.g. civil rights movement
  • Politics – contrast between
    • Contemporary electoral politics in the United States
    • Aristotle’s more inclusive concept of politics
  • Organizing as relationship-building
    • This model is sometimes called “relational organizing”
    • Ideally, organizers help people identify and act on their values
      • A basic tension in this model is which values, and how they are tied to political ideology – see Kleidman 2004 (cited above)
2 we are willing to sacrifice lameza 1988
2. We Are Willing to Sacrifice (LaMeza 1988)
  • The Colonias and Valley Interfaith
    • [see Shirley, Dennis. 2002. Valley Interfaith and School Reform: Organizing for Power in South Texas. Austin: University of Texas Press]
6 anger gives you energy los angeles 1986
6. Anger Gives You Energy(Los Angeles, 1986)
  • Leadership training
    • Is a very central part of CBCO
    • Example of setting up a “teachable moment”
    • “the program is about power, and about how most middle-class and poor people give consent to have it taken away from them” (46) [emphasis added]
    • “We teach not only how to get power, but how to use it” [Ed Chambers] (46)
II. Ed Chambers – IAF Executive Director
    • Along with Cortes and others, transformed IAF after the death of Saul Alinsky in 1972 – see pp. 93-

III. “We are about relational power” (48)

IV. Teachable moments about power, responsibility, relationships

  • Key elements of the process of organizing – p. 50
  • One-on-one meetings [interviews]
7 the first revolution is internal austin 1986
7. The First Revolution is Internal(Austin 1986)
  • Individual Transformation
  • Role of one-on-ones in this
    • Remember, one purpose is to help person clarify own self-interest
3 we need power to protect what we value
3. We Need Power to Protect What We Value
  • Power Defined – “the ability to act in your own behalf”
    • Question – how do you discover what are your interests?
      • Role of political ideology ?
        • Vision, analysis, strategy
      • Process – top-down (elitist) vs. bottom-up (populist) –
        • Is a balance possible?
    • Power tends to corrupt, but so does powerlessness
      • What does this mean?
      • What, if anything, can be done to develop democratic power?
  • Power and electoral politics (27)
    • nonpartisan
    • During elections: GOTV etc.
    • During and after elections: “accountability sessions”
      • Part of larger relationship
  • Power and organizational culture
    • “system of internal accountability” (28-29)
      • Example of evaluation of an action
      • Also shows key elements of an action
4 you feel like your work is a ministry
4. You Feel Like Your Work is a Ministry
  • Mary Moreno’s story
    • This is an “empowerment narrative” (Hart 2001)
      • Often told by the person as part of leadership training for self and others
    • Background
      • Childhood of poverty, victimization
      • Noticed “patronage” politics
      • Death of her father
    • 10 years later, during COPS training
      • reawakened feelings about her father’s death, racism etc.
      • learned to channel it into “Cold Anger”
      • and to look at systemic causes and collective solutions
5 the university of cops
5. The University of COPS
  • “What we want are organizers and leaders who really understand reflection and see themselves as scholars who synthesize reading, reflection, and action” (Cortes)(44)
  • “Our role is not merely to help. It is easy to encourage dependency. Our role is to teach. It is hard to do, to keep up the energy for it. But I think it is essential” (Cortes)(44)
  • Do you see yourself as a person described in part I?
    • Why or why not?
    • What would it take for you to become such a person?